Niranjan Thatte

Niranjan Thatte

University of Oxford

I coordinate the design and development of the HARMONI instrument for the ELT.

Niranjan works with around ten people at Oxford on the HARMONI instrument, including scientists, engineers project managers, researchers and students.

What do you do in your job?

I co-ordinate the design and development of the HARMONI instrument across the whole consortium (six partner institutes and associate partners), ensuring that the instrument design provides the best performance, improving on state-of-the-art, whilst keeping to budget and schedule.

How does your role fit in and support the wider team?

I work closely with the project manager, lead systems engineer and instrument scientists and lead discipline engineers, helping make technical decisions that impact the performance of the telescope. I provide the interface with the observatory that is constructing the telescope for which HARMONI will be the first light instrument

If you had to summarise the impact of your job on everyday life - what would you say in two sentences?

I am leading the design and development of the instrument for the world’s largest telescope – that will allow mankind to observe and understand the cosmos better than ever before, partially satiating our curiosity about the universe and our place in it.

What's the best thing about your job?

I have always been keen about astronomy, first as an amateur astronomer, and now as a professional. Astrophysics researchers have the luxury of studying the universe and being paid for it! I like solving problems: scientific, technical, and even managerial – ones that haven’t been tackled before.

What did you study at school?

My undergraduate degree is in Electrical Engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology, Mumbai.

What inspired you into a career in science/engineering?

A lot of curiosity and inquisitiveness about how things work, and the clever ideas that made our civilization and technology as advanced as it is today.  

What appeals to me about science is the wealth of information that we can glean about our world, and its place in the cosmos, just through careful observations.

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